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What Is the Opposite of Poverty?
Posted By Tim Glenn On October 17, 2011 @ 7:04 am In Advocacy | 5 Comments
Our ministry often refers to the “opposite of poverty.” And you might think that we are referring to wealth. The opposite of poor is obviously rich, right?
Actually, in order to answer the question, we first must be able to understand what poverty really is.
There is spiritual poverty … having no access to the gospel or never hearing about our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Sadly, millions of people around the world do not know that Jesus loves them. So the opposite of spiritual poverty is obviously having access to the gospel. It means knowing who Jesus is and how much He wants a relationship with everyone.
There is educational poverty. For hundreds of millions around the world, education is a luxury they cannot afford.
Think about that statement, “education is a luxury.” And imagine what that means for those who are trying to keep up in a changing world.
Lack of education creates a lack of options, difficulty in finding employment. So the opposite of educational poverty is the opportunity for advancement, new learning and practical training.
There is social poverty. In many parts of the world, there are people groups who are simply “undervalued.” Women have few or no rights, children have no voice, no platform … few or no rights.
So the opposite of social poverty is obviously a world where everyone is valued. Where there is community, or at least opportunity for community, and where governments recognize the value of every citizen.
There is health poverty. It may sound foreign to most of you reading this blog, but there are many, many people around the world who don’t even know the importance of brushing their teeth, or making sure the water they drink is clean.
There are men, women and children throughout our planet who believe that debilitating, crippling pain is just part of life — not knowing that it could be cured or treated, if only given the opportunity.
We’ve hear stories of village mothers who deprive their children of water when the children have diarrhea … believing that diarrhea means the child has has too much water. Not understanding that the very thing a child with diarrhea needs is more fluids.
We teach kids how to care for their bodies. Health poverty also includes those millions of people around the world who have no access to health care. So the opposite of health poverty may be the opportunity to get basic medical/health needs taken care of. It means the ability to learn how to take care of your own body.
There is environmental poverty. I have walked in parts of the world where families live in parched land, with dirt floors, where sewage trenches trickle outside their front doors.
Not every person in the world needs a mansion or even a 2,000 square foot, carpeted home. But every person should have safe shelter. Every person should have access to clean air and clean water . That’s the opposite of environmental poverty.
And, of course, there’s economic poverty. Can you believe there are millions of people around the world who do backbreaking work for 8 to 12 hours per day, for less than $2 pay?
Seriously? How can you feed a family on that kind of money? You can’t.
But the opposite of economic poverty isn’t for each of these people to suddenly become wealthy. The opposite of economic poverty is to have enough. Enough income to feed your family. Enough income to provide shelter for your family. That’s hardly too much to ask.
So, as you partner with us or your church or another ministry organization to fight poverty, it’s good to have a better understanding of what that really means.
We’re not called to make the poor become rich, uber-athletes, Ph.Ds or super-theologians. We’re not called to give them the opportunities to live in paradisaical environments. We’re called to make sure they have enough in each of these categories. So the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. It’s simply … enough.
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